Is colloidal silver a medicine, food supplement or neither?

I’ve just had a response from the MHRA’s Advertising Complaints department to last week’s Fishbarrelling of UK Colloidal Silver and Beechcroft Retreats.

I was told that colloidal silver is a not a medicine (but is in fact a food) and that I should forward my complaints to Trading Standards.

I am not convinced that this is the case and outlined my thoughts in the following email:

Thank you for your replies to my complaints about UK Colloidal Silver and Beechcroft Retreats and for confirming that colloidal silver is not a licensed medicine.

However, according to Directive, 65/65/EEC, “any substance or combination of substances presented for treating or preventing disease in human beings or animals” is defined as a medicinal product. Furthermore, the MHRA Guidance Note 8 states that “Food shall not include…medicinal products within the meaning of Council Directive 65/65/EEC [now Directive 2001/83/EC.]”. I therefore believe that if a company claims colloidal silver is to be used for treating or preventing disease, they are guilty of selling an unlicensed medicine. As you suggest, I will take this up with Trading Standards.

I am also seeking clarification from the Food Standards Agency as to whether colloidal silver is in fact classed as a food supplement (as claimed by UK Colloidal Silver). I note that it does not appear in the Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC (which lists vitamins and minerals that may be used in food supplements).

I believe there are many more similar instances of colloidal silver being presented and sold in this manner. I am in the process of finding out what the legal status is before I complain to Trading Standards or the MHRA about any more individual examples.

I have attached an email I recently sent to the MHRA Case Referrals team for your information.

EDIT The MHRA Case Referrals team have emailed today (20th May) to say they have forwarded both my original query and the above email to their Borderline Department.

3 responses to “Is colloidal silver a medicine, food supplement or neither?

  1. Pingback: This week’s ASA adjudications: all four related to misleading health claims | Josephine Jones

  2. Pingback: Colloidal Silver and The Law | Josephine Jones

  3. Pingback: The Department of Health will be surprised to learn that colloidal silver is NOT a medicine | Josephine Jones

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